Shorty Jangala Robertson

Shorty Jangala Robertson

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DOB: 1925 - 28 Sept 2014
Born: Jila (Chilla Well), NT

Shorty Jangala Robertson was born at Jila (Chilla Well), a large soakage and claypan north-west of Yuendumu. He lived a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle with his parents, older brother and extended Warlpiri family. They travelled vast distances across desert country, passing through Warlukurlangu, south west of Jila and Ngarlikurlangu, and north of Yuendumu, visiting Jangala's skin brothers.

Shorty's childhood memories consist of stories associated with the Coniston massacre of Aboriginal people and the shooting of families at Wantaparri, which is close to Jila. Shorty had virtually no contact with white fellas during his youth but remembers leaving Jila for Mt Theo 'to hide' from being shot. After his father died at Mt Theo, Shorty moved with his mother to Mt Doreen Station, and subsequently to the new settlement of Yuendumu.

During World War II, the army took people from Yuendumu to the other Warlpiri settlement at Lajamanu. Shorty was taken and separated from his mother however she came to get him on foot and together they traveled hundreds of miles back to Chilla Well. Drought food and medical supplies forced Shorty and his family back to Yuendumu from time to time. His working life was full of adventure and hard work for different enterprises in the Alice Springs Yuendumu area. He finally settled at Yuendumu in 1967 after the Australian Citizen Referendum.

It is extraordinary that in all his travels and jobs over his whole working life, Shorty escaped the burgeoning and flourishing Central Desert art movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Thus Shorty's paintings were fresh, vigorous and new. His use of colour to paint and interpret his dreamings of Ngapa (Water), Watiyawarnu (Acacia), Yankirri (Emu) and Pamapardu (Flying Ant) oozed vitality, yet upheld Warlpiri tradition and culture.

This accomplished artist was an active member of Warlukurlangu Cooperative, living in Yuendumu with his family.

Jangala passed away in 2014.


  • Owen Wagner Collection of Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Charlottesville, VA, USA
  • Private Collections
  • Pat Corrigan Collection, Sydney
  • Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
  • Artbank, Sydney
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
  • Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2016 Get Shorty!, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2011 Shorty Jangala Robertson, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2007 Singing the rain, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2006 Shorty Jangala Robertson, Coo-ee Gallery, Sydney
2005 Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2005 Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2004 Coo-ee, Sydney, NSW
2003 First Solo Exhibition, A November Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Private Collection | Private View: One Collector's Passion & Soul, Cooee Art, Redfern
2018 Land and Sky - Warlpiri Artists, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2010 Stories from the Centre, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2010 Exposition d'art aborigene d'Australie, IDAIA and Galerie Princesse de Kiev, Nice, France
2009 Value of Country, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2009 Nyirripi & Yuendumu Artists, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2009 Centred Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2009 A decade of Australia’s indigenous fine art 1999-2009, Salt Gallery, Queenscliff, VIC
2008 Warlukurlangu Wonders, Warlpiri Paintings from Yuendumu, Art Mob, Hobart
2008 Warlukurlangu Artists, the art of Yuendumu, La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, Bahrain, UAE
2008 Warlukurlangu Artists, Established & Emerging Artists, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
2008 Warlukurlangu Artists, Beaver Gallery, Canberra
2008 Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Caspary Conference Centre, Sydney
2008 Representations of Country, Artitja Fine Art, Perth
2008 Opening Doors into Colourful Dreamtime, ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2008 New Directions, Gecko Gallery, Broome, WA
2008 Les couleurs du desert australien, L'Antidote, Geneva, Switzerland
2008 Desert Stories, Artitja Fine Art, Perth
2008 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
2008 Bush Tucker 08, Arereal Gallery, Sydney
2008 Artists of Nyirripi & Yuendumu, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2008 Aboriginal Art aus der Central und Western Desert, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 Yuendumu & Kimberley, Twin Indigenous Show, United Gallery, Sydney
2007 Water for Life, Victorian Artists Society, World Vision Exhibition, Melbourne
2007 Warlukurlangu Artists, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2007 Warlukurlangu - Aboriginal Art aus Yuendumu, ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 Tiwa Ngurrara, Strangers?, Artkelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 Tiwa Ngurrara, Strangers?, Artkelch, Freiburg, Germany
2007 The Christmas Show, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2007 The Best of the Best jewels of the desert, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2007 Stocking, Artereal, Sydney
2007 SIPA, Seoul International Print, Photo & Edition Works Art Fair, Southern Exchange, South Korea
2007 Shalom Gamarada Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Shalom College, Sydney
2007 Desert Mob, Baguette Gallery, Brisbane, in conjunction with Suzanne O'Connell Gallery
2007 Desert Dreamings: earth + water, Artitja Fine Art, Perth
2007 Couples, painting partners from Yuendumu & Nyirrpi, Gadfly Gallery, Perth
2007 Contemporary Masters of the Central Desert, SF Fine Art, Sydney
2007 Australian Aboriginal Artists from the Central Desert, Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle WA, USA
2007 Above and Beyond, Caruana & Reid Fine Art, Sydney
2007 Above & Beyond, Caruana Fine Art & Reid Mercantile, Sydney
2007 Aboriginal Printmakers NT & QLD, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists - Recent Works, Mason Gallery, Darwin
2006 Warlukurlangu Artists - New Works, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2006 Warlpiri Artists of Yuendumu, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2006 Summer Evening, Anne Snell Gallery, Sydney
2005 Warlukurlangu Group Show, Beaver Gallery, Canberra
2005 Warlukurlangu Collection, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs
2005 WAAA Collection, Flinders Museum, Adelaide
2005 Recent Works, Short Street Gallery, Broome
2005 Luminous, Northern Editions, Charles Darwin University, Darwin
2005 Land of Diversity, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2005 Jukurrpa Wiri - Important Dreaming Stories, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs
2005 Big Country Exhibition, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2004 The Alice Prize, Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs
2004 Recent Works from Warlakurlangu, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2004 Painting Country, Thornquest Gallery, QLD
2004 New Works from Yuendumu, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
2004 Dreaming Stories, Indigenart, Perth
2004 Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
2004 Big Country, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2004 All About Art, Annual Collectors Exhibition, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Warlukurlangu Artists, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2003 Kurruwarri Wirijarlu Big Story, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2003 Kurruwarri Pipangka Designs on Paper, CDU Gallery, Charles Darwin University, Darwin
2003 All About Art, Alcaston Gallery at Depot Gallery, Sydney
2002 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne